Computerized Grading Essays

To counteract this discouraging development, in 2012 the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation sponsored a competition for automatic grading to get things going in the area.

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Can it capture essentials of written communication: reasoning, ethical stance, argumentation, clarity?

In the year 1966 when computers still filled whole rooms, researcher Ellis Page at the University of Connecticut took the first steps towards automatic grading. Computers was a relatively new thing and the thought of using them with text input rather than numbers must have seemed extremely novel to Page’s peers.

The next advancement in the grading of standardized tests is already underway with a new initiative to automate the assessment of essays.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, an organization that offers grants for efforts in education, environmentalism and global development, is planning to award $100,000 to the designers of a software that will accurately and automatically grade student essays for state tests.

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The first part of the competition was held in January and featured the vendors of software that has already been developed to demonstrate the efficiency of their products in grading essays.

The second part of the competition, which runs through April, extended involvement to the public, so that independent software developers can compete as well.

Rapid and accurate automated essay scoring will encourage states to include more writing in their state assessments.

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